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Your top 5 please - circumaural. open sound. imaging. comfort. easy to drive. $300 tops. for jazz at home

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks,


First ever post for me. Woohoo popcorn.gif


I'm looking for some recommendations please. I don't have anywhere good local I can try on so it's a bit of a gamble. I've been using Sennheiser HD25 for decades with a Sony CD walkman and wanted something more open to use at home. I now have Sony X series DAP (based on recommendations here and it is magic). I may get an amp eventually but for now it's Sony X and occasional iPhone when playlist mindstorming.


First purchase, AKG K701. Loving the musician-in-the-room sound but not comfortable for me. Those bumps! And head band not long enough. I considered band surgery but chickened out and sold them frown.gif something easier to drive would be better for me anyway.


Next up, Denon D2000. Again, not comfy for long. Well made but heavy-ish and I get top-of-head ache.


So for jazz, open sound (but they don't need to be open), real sax, piano, vocal, double bass etc. Comfy for my big old ears, well built and look good. Would consider second hand. Also I'd like to like the look of them. HD598 read well but the look (luke skywalker earmuffs from starwars v or is it me?)


I may order a couple and send one back. From what I read here I'm thinking



DT880 32





Probably in that order


Your input would be more than welcome!



post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ooh. The Denons are also going because the instruments are a bit too in-my-ears so something with similar HQ sound but bigger soundstage I think...

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

OK well I was wrong. I took my Sony x walkman on a detour from work and got a listen to some phones today. None of the ones on my list (not surprising as most are discontinued I know) but I did get to try:



Senn HD598 - smooth but a bit underwhelming somehow. Not that comfy either - headband on the max setting.


Senn HD650 - great SQ but still not the presentation I was after. Even more clamp-like on my head. Denon D2000 much more comfy. 


Grado SR125i - I liked these a lot! Yes the earpieces were kind of scratchy and the instruments still felt a bit closer than I'm looking for, but they sounded really engaging and musical in a way the others didn't. Hmmm.


I'm not sure where to go from here. Maybe I should expect to pay a little more and try the better grados for more comfort, refinement and musical space? Any thoughts?

post #4 of 19

for jazz


1 - HD650

2 - HD650

3 - HD650


great timbre and open sound

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

See, the HD650, that's what I thought I'd like. I wanted SQ and soundstage and all the reviews say HD650, but listening to Grados (which I was sure I wouldn't like from what I'd read) the SR125i (the only model they had) was more engaging and airy somehow. Not what I expected at all. I'm told they're getting back their GS-1000  next week. I'm almost scared to return...

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

My the GS-1000 also read like they're right up my street. Imaging like the K701 but more engaging, more comfy, maybe even easier to drive. But the price confused_face.gif 


Any more suggestions? How might the AD900 compare sound-wise to the SR125 I heard today?


All suggestions welcome confused_face_2.gif

post #7 of 19
Originally Posted by big-ears View Post

Senn HD650 - great SQ but still not the presentation I was after. Even more clamp-like on my head.


For the first few weeks, the HD 650's tended to make my head hurt after a few hours. With a tiny bit of stretching, and lots of wearing, I now find them quite comfortable. They're still tighter than the DT 990's, while the DT 990's are starting to feel a bit loose.

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that. I think I'm wanting to explore the Grado options based on what I heard and how they felt from the off. I'm reading that the SR325 plus G cush pads make them more comfy and provide a bigger soundstage and airy feel, something I'd like to try. I read a review that said this sounds similar to the GS-1000 but I'm guessing that can't be the case considering the price difference... 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

... Seriously thinking about buying some G Cush pads before I go back to the shop... I could always sell them on ebay if it doesn't work out... Crazy...

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

... Popped into my favourite store in town today. I knew they don't stock headphones but wanted their chat anyway. For somewhere that doesn't have headphones on display they seemed to know a lot about headphones! Anyway, they recommended I get a listen to the Hifiman range before buying. I also got a listen to what they did have, some Stax 007 mk2 (for sale, secondhand). Effortless or what! Form factor (and price!) not for me but an interesting insight into top-drawer phones...

post #11 of 19

I was going to mention the HE400 from Hifiman.... They are only around $400 bucks and you get ALOT for your money.

They have a clear, open sound.... they are full bodied, very live sounding, very engaging, forward enough to be fun but not overly so.... 


HD650 are really nice too... they are a lot lighter and have that deep powerful low end, but the HE400's are really good all rounders that don't leave you wanting for anything and even though they are heavy, they are more comfortable.... and the weight gives them a very impressive premium feel.


I sold my Grados and my Audeze's after I got them.... Audeze's seem recessed after listening to He400's and the Grados just gave me a headache. 


Between the HD650 and HE400, I think you've got the two best mid level phones on the market.... IMHO.

post #12 of 19

BTW my List


1. Hifiman HE400

2. Sennheiser HD650

3. Denon D5000

post #13 of 19
My list would be

Soundmagic HP200 + HP100
post #14 of 19
I've never heard jazz so good as out of the HP200, everything is so precise and crystal clear, with an amazing soundstage
post #15 of 19

Dt990 600ohm would be my choice it has good reviews such as nice sound.


I use this product for mostly games and movies (paired with a mixamp for dolby headphone) and they sound fantastic. Very wide sound stage, with present bass impact thats tight and controlled. The only gripe about the sound is the highs may be too harsh for the average listener. They smooth out after burn in, but are still quite present.

Headphones sounded very nice and are lightweight but the mids were too recessed for my liking and even though they were lightweight, I didn't like the fit; mainly with the ear cushions. They felt too narrow and were fairly large circumference(easily slid forward/rear quite a bit) but still comfortable. Strong, accurate bass and highs(which attribute to the recessed mids), great sound stage. Also sounded great on action movies.

Pros: * Amazing sound, as long as you have sufficient amplification * Very comfortable, even for long listening sessions * Amazingly deep and clear bass - hard to believe that sound can come from headphones Cons: * Can be used without a headphone amp but will not sound as good as could be. Probably won't have much bass kick or rumble * Can be revealing of flaws in player or source material (e.g. low bitrate MP3s or cheap CD players) * Needs to be broken-in before they sound 100% * Being open back, these do 'leak' sound a bit Overall: These are >very< nice headphones, if you have the right supporting equipment. The only place I enjoy listening to these anymore is at my computer, which has an Asus Xonar DX card and a homebuilt PIMETA amp. Using these with my iPhone or iPod, I can really hear the step down in quality, so I usually use earbuds instead when away from the PC. I also have a pair of sealed Sennheiser PC350s, which I quite like except that they are a little tight and get uncomfortable after long sessions. The PC350s seemed a little more bass-heavy at first (which I like), but now that the DT990s have broken-in a bit and I've swapped out the opamp in my PIMETA with a more bassy amp (replaced my AD823 with a Burr Brown OPA2107), the DT990s have plenty of kick. Again, just to warn the unsuspecting: being high impedance 'phones, these need a lot of voltage swing to sound their best, so I'd highly recommend using a headphone amp. If you don't have or want to use an amp, I'd recommend going with the 250 or 32 ohm versions instead. If you're using these with a PC, you may find that your on-board sound card doesn't cut it. I'd recommend a higher-end card such as the Asus Xonar series (The Essence STX is made for up to 600 ohm headphones and should be able to drive these without an external amp)

Beautiful sound. Very full, but detailed. I used to own a pair of DT 990 Pro (250 ohm)-- which were great, but seemed to lack any middle range. The 990 600 ohm are much more balanced. The bass is extraordinarily satisfying-- but not boomy like the Pros. My K 702s make me smile with some music-- but are unforgiving to bad recordings or low quality mp3s. What I love about the 990 600s is everything sounds great-- Shostakovich, Schubert, Peter Gabriel, Clinic, Underworld, Brad Mehldau, The Orb. Ne'er an equalizer adjustment to compensate for a lack. Lot of smiling. My new all-around headphones. Also-- a big surprise: they sound fantastic out of a cmoy and my iaudio X5 (bought at B&H 3 years ago). The only con-- I really miss the coiled cord of the Pros. Seems now I'm always detangling cable. My wife asked me yesterday if I was practicing my sailor's knot. Small price for the smiles.

Reviewed by David.M
Pros: Well constructed, Extremely comfortable, suplendous bass reponse system, Open, Airy, High end quality
Cons: Slightly recessed mid-range, doesn't make my breakfast.
Well...well...well..., what can i say about the legendary beyerdynamic)))) DT990/600; that i bought from B&H a few months ago?

How about... simply remarkable for the price/performance ratio.

The journey actually begins with my firstly acquired audiophile headphone(which was also a Beyerdynamic) but it was the variant DT880/250ohm model. I thought the 880's were superb,detailed, and crisp all-rounders,but my experience with them for the first 2 months(before purchasing the 990's shortly after) was that they were some-what lacking in the bass department, the musicality and the authoritative oomh seemed nowhere to be found.

The DT990 fix all that + give a much more in-depth realism feeling without any signs of being too bloated/over-aggressive.Granted, the mid-range on these headphones are not the best, they are still incredibly detailed, warm and inviting. Quite frankly, i think burn-in drastically opens up the mid range on these cans. Fishsk113(a well known head-fi member who also loves the 990's) has said that within 100 hours or so, the mid range becomes more prominent; and I agree 100%.. I have read many many people commenting on the fact that the 990's bass was just too over-whelming and ruined the music for them. It seems to me that they either a) had the inferior '250ohm' model'[which is known to have its errors] or..b) The amping/sourcing was inadequate. or...c) The bass quantity wasn't their cup of tea.

From my perspective, I feel the bass on the 990's is "perfect" to my ears. Yeah, it has the characterisitics of a wild Kodo Beast(bad warcraft joke :P) and can get a bit thick and muffled on bad recording/bass heavy tracks, but it's never over-emphasized in my opinion. Led Zeppelin has never sounded this awesome!. From the face melting mainstream guitar solos that will rock your socks, to the well balanced, low-end, soulful delicate sub bass sound spectrum of Classical Rock, the DT990's will never miss a beat as long as you stay true to your source.I remember going into discussions with driftingbunnies(another dt990 user who posts once in a while) he use to mention about the bass texture, quanity and quality of the Sennheiser HD650's. I recall him saying the Senn's had the quantity, but the beyer's had more refinement, better attack and a smoother rendering to it. I actually couldn't have said it better myself ! But i would love to try the 650 one day and do a full comparison of the two.

TheWuss has the soundstage & misc areas covered, so I don't really feel the need to get into it too much + I could give my fingers a break ^_^ But let me tell you guys, the 990 scale extremely well with gaming and movies.  TThe open airy atmosphere will leave you breathless; some days you might feel like hovering on water with all the much needed instrument seperation and crisp clean tracking. FPS games are a plus for these cans. If you play big hits like Modern Warfare 2 or Battlefield Bad Company 2, the indepth surround sound is phenomenal.The 880's might be more precise and have better accuracy, but gaming on the 990's is a dream come true. Throw in a decent tube amp in the mix and be astounded by the weight, body and circular bass motion that these headphone's will deliver. Truly immersive experience !

Conclusion: What can i say about the Beyer DT990's? They are one of the best headphones i have ever owned in my entire life. But people who want a neutral/balanced presentation should look away, as these are more of a muscially engagning, fun, dynamic, rhythmically fast paced headphone whilst still retaining most of its timbre, clarity and over-all features that the younger DT880 brother possess. Honestly, It just can't get any better than the DT990's. Well.... it can. *hint hint* JVC DX1000 / Denon AH-D7000 *hint hint*, but why pay more when you can get something that hits the "sweet spot" and coasts 1/3 of the price? I'll be looking to upgrade my Little Dot Mark 3 amp to one of the Woo Audio models (preferably the wa6) in the near future, The thing i love about the Beyers is their hidden potential to sound incredibly eargasmic as the quality of the amp rises. Truly Terrific/Under-Appreciated headphone that will be in my stable for a very long time




Ah, i finally got to actually test real headphones. I even got to test the sennheiser hd 800, and i personally don't think it's worth the money. I could clearly hear a difference to those and my razer electra, but it was not huge. I tested alot of headphones, i also tested the sennheiser hd 700, and it was pretty okay. But what i really loved, that sounded absolutely FANTASTIC! was the Beyerdynamic DT990. They sounded perfect for everything, i could even hear noise i couldn't head before, i think my next headphones will be those. I can hear a crisp clear difference between those and my electra, i don't think i'll hear better headphones for a while. So for me, the sennheiser hd 800 is definitely not worth the price, at all. I mean it's great and all, but i don't think it's value for the money. I think i'll get the DT990 with a modmic.


There all done.

Edited by holylucifer - 11/2/12 at 4:05pm
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Your top 5 please - circumaural. open sound. imaging. comfort. easy to drive. $300 tops. for jazz at home